University of Vermont antiwar forum

May 1, 2008

BURLINGTON, Vt.-- On April 8, nearly 200 people turned out at the University of Vermont to hear Nation journalist and author Christian Parenti discuss the effects of imperialism around the globe.

As Parenti commented, "Large parts of the Global South are in a state of disintegration. Bare institutions of the modern state are failing, ruled by the gun and the bribe. The right wing invokes this as the front line of the 'war on terror.' The backwards idea is that the 'coming anarchy' requires more colonialism, more humanitarian intervention. Not less."

Parenti outlined the principal causes that lead to this shattering of society: the legacies of colonialism, Cold War era military intervention, imposition of the neoliberal political economy and the eventual corruption of the local elites into full-blown dictators.

What occurs next in this climate of imperialistic economic mismanagement is what you can see today in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq: the criminalization of the economy to narcotics and bribes and the rise of extreme ethnic and religious conflict.

As Parenti told the audience, "It's not that the world is impoverished, it's just that the people in the world are impoverished. There is a tremendous amount of wealth in the world that can be redeployed to meet people's needs. We have to have economic plans, not moral outrages."

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